Colorful Language

| Working | August 26, 2014

(I’m a shift leader at a chain fabric store. Many of my coworkers are from Mexico and Central America. While I am white, I have been exposed to Spanish since childhood and can speak it fluently. Two of my team members are at the cutting tables serving customers. One is Guatemalan.)

Coworker #1: “Hey, [My Name]. I have something to tell you when I finish these cuts.”

Me: “Sure thing, [Coworker #1].”

(A few minutes pass and Coworker #1 is finished cutting.)

Me: “So what did you want to talk me about?”

Coworker #1: “Shh! Not yet! Later! Later.”

Me: “Uh. Okay.”

(A little while later, she approaches me while I’m tidying up.)

Coworker #1: “Okay, now I can tell you.”

Me: “Okay. So, what’s up?”

Coworker #1: “You know that couple I was cutting for?”

Me: “Yeah, the blond lady and her husband?”

Coworker #1: “Yeah, yeah! Well, he was all over her. Had his hands in her jeans pockets and kept smacking her on the rump. In public! White men. Tch.”

Me: “Haha. I noticed that! Why couldn’t you tell me about this before?”

Coworker #1: “Oh, because [Coworker #2] was standing there. She’s white, so she might have gotten offended.”

Me: Uh. [Coworker #1]. You realize I’m just as white as [Coworker #2], right?”

Coworker #1: *giggling* “Oh, [My Name]. You are not white. You speak Spanish!”

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